High Heels and Morton's Neuroma: Yes, There Is a Connection

Although high heel sales have dropped 12%, an estimated 39% of women still wear these shoes on a daily basis. While high heels may add a sophisticated flair to your outfit, they can wreak havoc on your feet.   

If you regularly wear high heels — and you notice pain in your toes — you could be feeling the first signs of Morton’s neuroma. At Advanced Foot, Ankle, & Wound Specialists, our team of podiatrists diagnoses and treats neuromas, giving you the relief you need.

In the meantime, continue reading to learn more about the connection between your shoes and foot pain.

What is Morton’s neuroma?

A neuroma is a benign growth caused by hardened or thickened nerve tissue. Morton’s neuroma usually develops between the third and fourth toes on your foot. 

When the fibrous tissue is compressed or irritated, it might feel as if there’s a marble in your shoe. You might also feel like there’s a pinched nerve in your foot. 

Morton’s neuroma can appear in either foot, but it’s rare to have a neuroma in both feet at the same time.

Women are up to 10 times more likely than men to have Morton’s neuroma, and shoe selection plays a big role in this. 

4 signs you have Morton’s neuroma

Even though you might feel like you’re walking on a marble, you won’t see a lump on your foot. Instead, a neuroma’s most common symptom is foot pain. Some typical signs of Morton’s neuroma are:

Thankfully, Morton’s neuroma doesn’t typically cause pain in the middle of the night.

What causes Morton’s neuroma?

While some cases of Morton’s neuroma occur due to factors beyond your control — including having flat feet, high arches, or bunions — many cases of Morton’s neuroma are linked to shoe choice.

Morton’s neuromas tend to develop when your toes are squeezed and too much pressure is put on the ball of your foot. That’s why repetitive athletic activities (including running or skiing) can cause foot pain and neuromas.

 Any sport that requires tight shoes can also contribute to Morton’s neuroma. This includes ballet slippers and ski boots.

The connection between Morton’s neuroma and high heels

Too-tight athletic footwear isn’t the only cause of foot pain. Wearing high heels (especially ones with a narrow footbed) put pressure on the ball of your foot and squeeze your toes, both of which can increase your risk of developing Morton’s neuroma and make foot pain worsen.

While you might get away with wearing high heels once or twice without any pain, the more you wear them, the more likely you’ll deal with long-term issues. Over time, the nerves leading to your toes can become compressed and develop a neuroma.

If you wear stilettos, you don’t necessarily have to give them up for good, but you might consider alternating them with more comfortable shoes. 

If you start experiencing foot pain or numbness or think you might have Morton’s neuroma, we recommend switching to more comfortable and supportive shoes. 

If you engage in high impact sports like running, tennis, or skiing, your risk of developing a neuroma or a bunion may also increase. Always wear the appropriate type of footwear. If you’re unsure what size to buy, get a professional fitting before buying your footwear.

Treatment for Morton’s neuroma

You don’t need to let foot pain slow you down. Here at Advanced Foot, Ankle, & Wound Specialists, we treat Morton’s neuroma with a variety of conservation treatments, including arch supports, footpads, custom orthotics, and/or physical therapy. We also offer corticosteroid injections.

If your Morton’s neuroma is severe and not responding to conservation treatment, you may need decompression surgery to correct it. Our board-certified podiatric surgeons are experienced in treating these benign tumors so that you can enjoy improved mobility sans pain.

To find out more about treating Morton’s neuroma, call us at any of our locations throughout southeastern Florida. Our offices are in Tamarac, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Coral Springs, and Hollywood.

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